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Turkey Vows Retaliation if US Imposes Sanctions over S-400 Deal

Turkey Vows Retaliation if US Imposes Sanctions over S-400 Deal

Friday, 14 June, 2019 - 09:15
Russian S-400 Triumph medium-range and long-range surface-to-air missile systems drive during a Victory Day parade at Red Square in Moscow, Russia, May 9, 2016. (Reuters)
Asharq Al-Awsat
Turkey vowed on Friday to retaliate against the United States should it impose sanctions over its purchase of the S-400 missile defense system from Russia.

“If the United States takes any negative actions towards us, we will also take reciprocal steps,” Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said when asked about possible US sanctions in an interview broadcast on Turkish TV.

“We are determined on the S-400 issue. No matter what the results will be, we will not take a step back,” he remarked, adding it is impossible to cancel the order.

Ankara and Washington have sparred publicly for months over Turkey’s purchase of the S-400 missile systems. Washington has said that would trigger US sanctions and sent a letter warning that Ankara would be pulled out of the F-35 jet program.

The Turkish lira weakened to as far as 5.93 against US dollar after the comment, to its weakest level in two weeks.

The S-400s are not compatible with NATO’s defense systems and Washington says they would compromise its F-35s, which Turkey also plans to buy. Turkey has proposed that the allies form a working group to asses the impact of the S-400s, but has yet to receive a response from the United States.

US Acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan last week sent his Turkish counterpart a letter warning that Ankara would be pulled out of the F-35 jet program unless it changes course from its plans to install the defenses.

Cavusoglu said Thursday no one can give Turkey ultimatums.

“Turkey will not back down from its decisions with these kinds of letters,” he said. “Turkey bought S-400, it is going to be delivered and stationed in Turkey.”

A day earlier, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that Turkey had completed the deal with Russia and that the systems will be delivered in July. Moscow has said it will begin the delivery of the systems in July.

Erdogan also said that Ankara would challenge its potential removal from the F-35 program on every platform and hold those who exclude Turkey accountable.

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